Sometimes Jason Louser feels as if he’s living the lives of two separate people at the same time — one as a high school student and the other as a standout swimmer. “I go to school and I’m a high school student and I go to swimming and it’s almost a different world,” he said.
The Shoreham-Wading River High School senior will merge those academic and athletic worlds next fall when he attends the University of California in Berkeley.
Before then, though, Louser has some final business to attend to in this, his fifth and final season swimming for SWR. He wants to make one final, big splash for the Wildcats.
Louser will compete for SWR for the last time in the state public school championships March 1 and 2 at the Nassau County Aquatic Center in East Meadow. He will swim in both the 200-yard individual medley and 100-yard breaststroke in his fifth state meet.
Louser is looking to add to the three state championships he already holds (two in the 100 breaststroke and one in the 200 IM).
“I definitely feel like I’m going to be ready,” he said.
Louser seemed ready in the Section XI Championships Feb. 9 at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood. Despite not shaving his body and not feeling fully rested, he broke his own 2017 county record in the 500-yard freestyle with a winning time of 4 minutes, 28.34 seconds. About 30 minutes later, he took first place in the 100 breaststroke in 55.54.
“I didn’t go in with any rest or anything else,” said Louser, named the meet’s Most Outstanding Competitor. “So the times I got were pretty good. But at the states I will be shaved and rested, so hopefully I can go faster.”
Louser knows that swimming when you’re not feeling your best is part of the sport. He said: “Sometimes when you jump in for a warmup, you’re like, ‘I don’t feel that great. I’m feeling kind of sore. I’m kind of tired.’ You just have to persevere.”
Louser trains six days a week at the Nassau County Aquatic Center, his home away from home.
He was a junior national champion in the 400 IM last summer. “It was shocking for me because I didn’t think I would even be there at all,” he said.
In August, Louser will head to California to compete in national and junior national meets.
Louser said he appreciates having been given the opportunity to swim for five seasons for SWR, a school without a pool. He particularly expressed his gratitude to SWR athletic director Mark Passamonte for his support. “He let me achieve what I wanted,” said Louser.
Passamonte wrote in a text message: “Jason is an extremely talented athlete and student. His hard work in the pool has paid off with three state titles and most likely more to come. I have no doubt that Jason will continue his success next year at UC Berkeley.”
Louser said swimming has made a great impact on his life. He said: “It’s obviously fun that I’m good at swimming, but what it’s done for me as a person is so life-changing and dramatic … My work ethic has really shown through this sport. I’m much more confident as a person.”
Photo caption: Shoreham-Wading River senior Jason Louser is looking to add to the three state titles he has won. (Credit: Courtesy of Jason Louser)